A GLAMOROUS waitress is hoping to swap her white pinny for a bejewelled crown as she jets to America to compete in the finals of a major beauty pageant.
Blonde Arabella Normand, 19, is the first beauty queen in Scotland to hold the UK title and will compete against the best in the business at the prestigious Miss Teen World finals in Houston, Texas, in July.
The former Loretto pupil stumbled into the world of pageantry after being entered into a regional contest “as a joke” in 2011.
Since then, she has become a teen sensation clinching two national titles in as many years – and is now set to test herself against the top names in the world as an ambassador for the United Kingdom.
The New Town resident said the events have helped her “gain confidence”.
She said: “People don’t realise there is more to beauty pageants than wearing a bikini on stage. I believe TV shows misrepresent pageants because there is a bigger dynamic that people don’t give them credit for.”
She added: “Before pageants I wasn’t able to speak as well as I do now and I’ve been able to make best friends from it. I have learned new things, gained confidence and friends.
“I know people have a negative view of it but you can gain so much from it. It’s not just a crown, and that’s what I find so empowering about it.”
Dozens of stunning contestants will compete for the international crown in a competition that has been running since 2008.
Arabella must dazzle the judges by performing a catwalk run, completing a professional photo-shoot and, most nerve-wracking of all, wow audiences in an one-to-one interview with the show host.
She said: “I am incredibly proud to be representing the United Kingdom at Miss Teen 2014 in the USA in July and I believe I am the first Scottish girl to hold this title.
“I know that at present there is debate about beauty pageants around the world and the length contestants will go to to strive for physical perfection.
“From personal experience I can only praise the pageants and directors who I have been involved with and whilst I work hard to make sure that I am physically fit, I have never found any pressure either nationally or internationally, to be anything other than fit and healthy.”
The waitress, who works at Raeburn House Hotel , added: “I will do my very best to make everyone proud of me.”
A spokeswoman for Miss Teen World said the competition “strives to provide each young lady with an experience she will never forget”.
Lynne McNicoll, chairwoman of cancer charity It’s Good 2 Give, with whom Arabella has previously volunteered, said wished her all the best for the competition.
She said: “She’s a lovely girl, great to work with. She’s so friendly towards the children.
“We wish her all the best.”